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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Jamie Schaafsma defends the puck against Cincinnati defensive players in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defense Ryan Lowney looks to pass the puck in the in the second period against Cincinnati at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Justin MacDonald is surrounded by Cincinnati players as he struggles to gain control of the puck in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Dennis Kravchenko fights for the puck against Cincinnati forward Shawn O'Donnell in the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Garrett Thompson fights for the puck against Cincinnati defense Anthony Florentino in the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Gabriel Desjardins races down the ice in the first period against Cincinnati at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Mason Baptista races down the ice in the first period against Cincinnati at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defense Cody Sol and goalie Michael Houser block a shot taken by Cincinnati forward Rob De Fulviis in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defense Bobby Shea receives a pass in the in the second period against Cincinnati at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:30 pm

Recapping Komets' Game 2 victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

As you would imagine, there was much praise tonight for goaltender Michael Houser, who stopped 33 shots and was one late power-play goal away from a shutout in the Komets' 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones at Memorial Coliseum.

“He was playing great for us tonight. He made some big saves, some timely saves. He was definitely our star player tonight,” said captain Jamie Schaafsma, whose Komets have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series that shifts to U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati for Game 3 on Thursday.

Toledo has a 2-0 lead over Indy in the division's other series.

"I know what (Houser) can do and what he’s capable of and he’s been showing it in this series," said Cody Sol, who had the big 5-on-3 power-play goal for the Komets that shifted it firmly in their direction.

Sol didn't have a single point on the power play during the regular season, but with all the injuries, and Fort Wayne having to play one man short of a full 18-player lineup today, coach Gary Graham is pulling out every trick in his arsenal right now. Sol's goal was set up by Shawn Szydlowski, who skated from the right side of the zone to the left before flicking a pass back for a Sol one-timer.

“Szyd worked it high and put it right in my wheelhouse, so I have to give credit to Szydlowski for that pass, but I just gripped it and ripped it and it happened to go in,” said Sol, who had eight goals and 29 points in 53 regular-season games.

Houser has stopped 59 of 63 shots in the series, including a first-period stop of Brandon McNally from point-blank range, a second-period McNally breakaway and a third-period Daniel Muzito-Bagenda backhand from 12 feet out. Several of the Komets talked about how much energy each one of Houser's saves gives them, and they needed that energy after playing to double overtime Saturday night.

“When you make a couple saves like that, you see guys want to sell out and block some shots,” said Houser, who got plenty of assistance, including Bobby Shea stripping Justin Vaive before he could unleash a 12-foot shot with Houser sprawled on the ice.

Cincinnati’s Jonas Johansson has stopped 103 of 109 shots in the series, including 35 of 37 today.

Here's another topic from the Komets' locker room: How much their struggles down the stretch of the regular season are paying off right now. They're not rattled by close games or all the injuries. But as we all know, until a team loses on home ice, you can't get too ahead of yourself on anything.

The hope for the Komets is at least Ryan Culkin is back for Game 3, but it sounds if maybe some other players will be available. We'll have to see how everyone feels after a day of rest.